The Return of the Prodigal Son

The Wikipedia version

The TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version of that parable is that there was a son who wanted his inheritance early. He squandered it away and went back to his father for forgiveness.

I share this parable to reflect and to acknowledge my good service today. One of my clients drew the parallel that they were the Prodigal Son and their inheritance was their relationship (or lack thereof) with their child. My client felt they lost their child due to their child’s refusal to have a relationship with my client. My client felt an immense sense of guilt for they felt that they had done something wrong to make that child go away, to become “lost.”

I chose one part of the parable to reframe today. I asked my client about the money the Son had squandered – where did it go? My client focused on the Son, telling me that the Son had lost the money and no longer had it. I asked again – Think outside of the Son – where did the money go? My client wasn’t following and was still focused on the Son and the Son’s actions.

I pointed out that the Son’s money left his possession but entered into others’ lives, that he paid for the services he rendered, the food he ate, the parties he threw. His money supported their businesses, their families, their services, their labor. While the Son may have “lost” his money, his money was still out there to serve another purpose. Yes, it was sad that the Son squandered his wealth, but the silver lining is that his money helped many others.

That’s what my client’s child was doing. While their child was not in their “possession,” they could still serve another purpose elsewhere. They were not lost, they were doing good work somewhere else. Watching my client’s face change as we made the connection was so rewarding. In that instant, in that moment, I was reminded of why I do what I do. I could see the wheels turning in my client’s head. That guilt my client felt was starting to lift – chip away little by little.

That moment when it clicked made everything worth it all.